- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. Forget about their penchant for coming back when everyone else writes them off. Forget about the fact that it takes four victories to win the World Series, not two. And, yes, forget about the leaping little monkey that coaxes them to late-inning dramatics.
The cold, hard truth was this: The Anaheim Angels had to win Game2 of the World Series last night if they were to have any realistic hope of securing the first championship trophy in franchise history. A two-game deficit to the San Francisco Giants, while not totally insurmountable, would have been nearly impossible to overcome, especially with the series now moving north to Pac Bell Park.
Mike Scioscia knew this, and so the Angels manager knew he had to pull out all the stops in a wild, 11-10 victory last night. Even if it meant pulling his starting pitcher in the third inning. Even if it meant using his expected Game 4 starter out of the bullpen. And even if it meant asking a 20-year-old rookie reliever to give him three innings of scoreless baseball under the most stressful of circumstances.
All that and a whole lot of Tim Salmon gave Anaheim a stirring victory before a crazed Edison Field crowd.
Salmon won it with a tie-breaking, two-run home run off San Francisco reliever Felix Rodriguez in the eighth inning his second homer and fourth hit of the game.
"I knew the siutation. I knew it was big. You had a feeling it was going to come down to something like that. That's something I've been dreaming about doing for a long time. It was unbelievable," Salmon said.
Said Angels manager Mike Scioscia: "Tim's really got back in his groove. He's obviously a major reason for us being here. I think you can see the potential Tim has."
Barry Bonds momentarily delayed the celebration by crushing a solo shot off closer Troy Percival with two outs in the ninth, but Benito Santiago flied out to end the game and make a winner out of Francisco Rodriguez yet again.
On a night in which seemingly no one could record an out, Anaheim's rookie reliever retired all nine batters he faced in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. In the process, he improved to 5-0 in the postseason and tied Randy Johnson for the most wins in one postseason.
"We've been hearing that he has good stuff, but that was the first time we'd seen him in person. For a young pitcher he throws a lot of strikes, a lot of quality strikes. How many innings did he go three? That's a pretty good stint for a young man," Giants manager Dusty Baker said.
"K-Rod" was the pitching hero, but Salmon was the biggest offensive hero in a game full of them. The Angels right fielder went 4-for-4, homered twice (including the eventual game-winner) and reached base all five times he stepped to the plate.
His biggest hit came with the game, and potentially Anaheim's season, on the line in the eighth. With David Eckstein on first and two outs, Salmon belted Rodriguez's first pitch over the left-field fence, sending the crowd into pandemonium.
Salmon's homer completed the Angels' comeback from a 9-7 deficit in a game they actually led 5-0 after the first inning.
Anyone among the 44,584 who showed up at Edison Field last night expecting this game to bear any resemblance to Saturday's well-played, well-pitched, 4-3 Giants victory was sorely mistaken. If Game 1 was a fairy tale, Cinderella showdown befitting a ballpark that's down the street from Disneyland, the first few innings of Game 2 were a poorly produced, low budget knock-off. With Kevin Appier and Russ Ortiz starring as the ugly stepsisters.
The two starting pitchers got the nod from their respective managers because of their ability to provide, at the very least, quality innings. So much for that line of thinking; Anaheim's Appier and San Francisco's Ortiz couldn't even combine to last the five innings required to earn a victory.
Heck, Ortiz was lucky to make it out of a five-run first inning without getting yanked by Giants manager Dusty Baker. The Angels' first four batters of the game all hit safely, as did their sixth- and seventh-place hitters, totaling five singles and a double.
Even the guys who made outs had productive at-bats. Both Troy Glaus and Bengie Molina advanced runners from second on fly balls.
And in perhaps the biggest indignation to the Giants, Anaheim scored run No.5 when Brad Fullmer scampered home without drawing a throw on the back end of a double steal the kind of play you expect on a Little League field, not at the World Series.
Appier couldn't have asked for a better scenario than a 5-0 lead after one inning the largest first-inning offensive explosion in the World Series since the 1979 Orioles scored five times on the Pirates in Game 1. And he couldn't have done a worse job protecting that gift-wrapped lead when he came back out for the second inning.
Given a rare opportunity to go right after Bonds without fear of repercussion, Appier walked the San Francisco slugger to lead things off. A single by J.T. Snow put runners on the corners for Reggie Sanders, and the much-maligned Giants right fielder drove them all in by crushing Appier's fat, 87-mph, 0-2 fastball to left for a three-run home run (Sanders' second homer in as many nights after struggling in the postseason this year).
David Bell followed with a solo shot of his own to cut the Angels' lead to 5-4, and though Anaheim got two runs back on a Salmon homer in its half of the inning, Appier came out in the third and served up a leadoff home run to Jeff Kent that made it 7-5.
"We kept going back and forth, back and forth. That was one of the best games I've ever been in. This is what the World Series is all about," Baker said.
Another walk to Bonds (his second of three on the night), and Scioscia had seen enough. He pulled his starting pitcher after two-plus innings and was forced to summon John Lackey (his announced Game 4 starter) from the bullpen.
The rookie right-hander fared far better than his veteran teammate, but Scioscia allowed him to throw just 32 pitches over 2⅓ innings so that he might return to start at Pac Bell Park.
Scioscia could bring back Lackey (on two days' rest) for Game4 as scheduled. Or he could push him back one day and send Game1 starter Jarrod Washburn out Wednesday on three days' rest (just as he did against the Yankees in the division series).
The best course of action might have been to just let Lackey keep going last night, because his replacement (Ben Weber) allowed four runs to cross the plate (two inherited) before getting out of the fifth.
Scioscia might have saved his Game 4 starter, but with the Giants now ahead 9-7, he might have blown a Game2 victory.

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